May 23rd, 2007

Not jealous, not hardly at all

I wonder what my writing life had been like if I had realized when I was a lot younger that it was possible to be a published author.

In 2003, Michael Koryta became the youngest winner of the annual St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writers of America 'Best First Private Eye Novel' contest. He wrote Tonight I Said Goodbye when he was just 20. It was published when he was 21. Tonight I Said Goodbye went on to earn an Edgar nomination for best first novel, to win the Great Lakes Book Award for Best Mystery, and to be translated into several languages. The third novel in the series, A Welcome Grave, will be released this June. Showing that it’s not a fluke, it just got starred reviews from PW and Library Journal.



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My movie business

So I guess it's official now - this Saturday I got my signed contract and a check for a film option for Learning to Fly. I love that book. It would be wonderful if it did get made into a film.

My house was burglarized when I was writing it. They wanted a criminalist to come out to take fingerprints, so we were in limbo for several hours, not wanting to clean in case we screwed up the evidence. (The reason he was late was because a man had been murdered by a call girl and her boyfriend that same day - an event that later found its way into another Portlander's mystery.) When Ken Jones did come, it turned out that good quality fingerprints were not as easy to find as one would think from watching TV. Fingers on doorknobs turn, for example, resulting in smears. Ken was kind enough to teach me how to make and then dust for my own fningerprints that night, showing me how difficult it was to get a useable print. And Ken later became the basis for one of the characters in the book, although in the book his name is Craig.

After the book came out, I invited Ken to my reading at Powells, but he wasn't there at the start. I talked about him anyway, and midway through, in he came, dressed in plain clothes, gun on his hip. "There's Ken, everybody!" I cried, and the crowd applauded while gave them a surprised wave and smile.

The book starts out with a scene based on real life - a huge, multicar accident in Eastern Oregon. Ridley Pearson had agreed to look at it for a blurb, but the book arrived at his house a few days after September 11. He returned it to me, saying he had never done this before, but he had found himself unable to read about the death and destruction. He told me he owes me, but I've never called in the favor.



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